You may think of gaming headsets as the sort of purchase limited to the most hardcore of hardcore gamers, but there are actually plenty of people who could benefit from a decent set.
Whether you want to play online and trash talk your competition, want surround sound audio to pinpoint enemy locations, or just want to save your family or partner from listening to the sounds of gunfire while you game, a decent gaming headset is worth the investment - though it doesn't have to cost a fortune. For budget-friendly options, take a look at our budget gaming headset chart.
Still, it's not always a straightforward decision, and you'll have to bear a few factors in mind.
First, there's the console you want to use it for. The Switch and 3DS only support wired headphones, so that rules out Bluetooth if your main aim is playing on a Nintendo console.
The PS4 will work with either, and the Xbox One depends entirely on which controller model you have - the most recent support Bluetooth, older models are wired-only, and the oldest even require an adapter. If you're a PC gamer, your PC may or may not have Bluetooth support - though you can always grab a Wi-Fi headset, or pick up a Bluetooth dongle for your computer.
Wired sets also tend to boast better response times and audio quality, and you also need to think about whether you want an in-line or boom microphone, whether you need them to be lightweight and portable or not, and how much muting and audio mixing functionality you need built-in.
That's not even getting into aesthetics - while gaming headsets have traditionally been garish, companies are designing understated sets that you'd be equally happy to use as your default audio gear - though check out our guide to the best headphones if you want to keep your gaming and music separate.
In our reviews below, we break each headset down by audio quality, features, design, and price, to offer buying advice no matter your budget or requirements.
Best gaming headsets of 2019
1. Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2
It may be an expensive headset, but we think the Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2 is well worth a purchase. The Elite Pro 2 boasts incredible audio quality with crisp highs and rich, booming bass, directional audio thanks to 7.1 surround sound support and smartphone compatibility that allows you to take calls via the headset.
We haven't even begun to talk about how comfortable the headset is either. The Aerofit Ear Cushions are incredibly soft and cool to the touch, and mould to the shape of your head as you wear them for extreme comfort over long periods. There is even a gap for glasses wearers!
If money is no object, the Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2 is the best option right now.
Read our full Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2 review
2. Razer Nari Ultimate
The Razer Nari Ultimate is a beautifully-designed high-end headset that delivers not only an exceptional audio experience, but a comfortable one too. Featuring a lightweight aluminium frame, a self-adjusting headband and cooling gel-infused earcups, it’s a headset you’ll be able to wear for hours on end without any uncomfortable aches or behind-the-ear sweats.
HyperSense technology helps the Nari Ultimate stand out from a crowd of gaming headsets, offering intelligent haptic feedback on PC and consoles that can really help immerse you into the world of the game you’re playing. Couple that with THX Spatial Audio support and wireless capabilities, and you’ve got a premium audio experience that shines not only when playing games but listening to music and watching movies too.
Read our full Razer Nari Ultimate review
3. Logitech G935
The wireless Logitech G935 boasts a gorgeous design that when combined with premium materials offers impressive comfort, even over long gaming sessions - although it's not quite as comfortable as the Elite Pro 2, found above. The customisable buttons are a plus, allowing you to program macros or just about anything else and activate them on-the-fly, and the RGB lighting is bound to impress some.
But while it boasts a great design, the G935 truly excels in the audio department. Bass is booming, highs are crisp and clear, and the soundscape is impressive, allowing you to pinpoint the source of audio with incredible accuracy.
Oh, and (wired) compatibility with just about every console alongside PC is a bonus too.
Read our full Logitech G935 review
4. Audeze Mobius
Traditionally a big-name in the hi-fi market, Audeze is a newcomer to the gaming scene, and the Mobius is one of the most expensive gaming headsets currently available. However, the hefty price tag includes impressive sound quality, versatile connectivity features, and a great sense of space that really puts you right in the middle of the action.
Based on the company’s ‘planar magnetic’ technology, the Mobius headphones sound great, with clear, sharp high frequencies and a rich, strong bass sound that works well both for music and shoot-em-up action games. There’s USB-Audio output for PCs and Macs, 3.5mm connector for older devices, and Bluetooth wireless. You can even buy special cryo-gel earpieces to keep you cool in the heat of battle.
Read our full Audeze Mobius review
5. 1More Spearhead VRX
The 1More Spearhead VRX is unique in that it’s the only headset in our chart to offer positional head tracking, and it works surprisingly well. The end result is a more immersive, realistic gaming experience where audio is affected by the way you turn your head. The audio quality is crisp and the bass is booming, thanks to the built-in 50mm vibrating drivers, making them perfect for gaming and listening to music too.
It’s also the only headset in our chart that doesn’t offer an adjustable mic, instead opting for a small microphone in the earcup much like with standard smartphone headphones. We were admittedly sceptical about how well it’d perform, and though it isn’t a perfect experience, it certainly exceeded our expectations.
Read our full 1More Spearhead VRX review
6. SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC
You really can’t go wrong with SteelSeries products and the Arctis Pro + GameDAC is a perfect example of this - exceptional build quality and design meet harmoniously with exceptional, highly-customisable sound quality and diversity.
The GameDAC allows you to create your own audio profiles with ease and switch them on the fly, so you can manually boost the highs to hear those footsteps over the gunfire or drag the lows up for that thumping, concussive, immersive sound.
Read our full SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC review
7. Creative SXFI Air
The Creative Super X-Fi headphones are one-of-a-kind; no other headphones produce an audio experience close to what’s on offer here. It’s a different kind of immersion, providing a tailored experience that can only be likened to listening to music in a professional recording studio. The audio is clear and crisp, with the wide soundscape making the headphones ideal for gaming as well as jamming to your favourite tunes.
The headphones are also compatible with a wide range of devices, from smartphones to PC and Mac to consoles including the PS4 and Nintendo Switch, allowing you to have one headset for all tasks. It’s good-looking too, with intuitive swipe controls and a customisable RGB strip for that unique look.
Read our full Creative SXFI Air review
8. Plantronics Rig 500 Pro
Set the aesthetics aside, and the Rig 500 Pro is a really impressive gaming headset for its price. We've frequently forgotten that this is costs less than £100/$100 while we've been using it, happily switching between it and some far more expensive alternatives in our chart.
Solid metal construction means its comfortable and built to last, with powerful bass that’s perfect for driving shooters and refreshingly simple controls.
Read our full Plantronics Rig 500 Pro review
9. ROG Strix Fusion 500
With the recent price drop, the Asus ROG Strix Fusion 500 is now more tempting than ever before. It may not have some of the bells and whistles of other gaming headsets in our chart, but it’s well-built, comfortable to wear and most importantly, it sounds incredible. The virtual 7.1 surround sound support immerses you in your favourite games, allowing you to pick up directional audio that can enhance your overall gameplay experience – especially in fast-paced online shooters where split-second reaction times are a necessity.
Our only complaint is that despite being compatible with PS4 as well as PC, swipe input isn’t supported by the console.
Read our full ROG Strix Fusion 500 review